Changing a dirt bike tire is a daunting task that most of us avoid. It’s like fighting with a huge angry squid. Biking on a dirt bike can be a costly hobby.
Knowing how to change a dirt bike tire can save you money on possible expensive repairs. Just get the right tools and deflate the tires. Then loosen the tire beads. Turn over the bike and remove the rim lock and the inner tube. Unmount the wheel.
Separate the tire bead from the rim and lift the tire over the rim. Assess the rim tape, rim lock, and inner tube for defects. Prepare the inner tube and new bike tire.
Set the inner tube on the wheel. Now place the tire on the wheel while ensuring that the valve system sticks on the rim. Mount the tire, inflate the inner tube to the required bead, and mount the wheel.
This guide will teach you how to change a dirt bike tire in minutes. It will also examine several tips for removing and replacing a dirt bike tire.
Here are the tools that will help you change a tire from a dirt bike:
- Four tire levers
- Tire changing stand
- Tire spoon
- Valve remover
- Tire lube
Soapy water or talc powder can work as a tire lube. If you’re lucky, you may find a lube designed for changing tires.
Tire-changing lubes are not always readily available. So I prefer changing my dirt bike tire without any tire lube. It isn’t easy, but you can give it a try.
Tire Changing Stands
A tire changing stand is optional, but it can make the job much easier. The best tire changing stand should have the following features:
- Pivots at the base to allow different-sized wheels
- Angled neck for better leverage
- Clamps to secure the bike in place
If you don’t have a tire changing stand, you can use a motorcycle jack or other stable platform. Just make sure the bike is sturdy and won’t move while working on it.
Preparations for Dirt Bike Tire Change
Once you have the required tools, follow these steps to prepare for a dirt bike tire change:
Park your dirt bike on a level surface and shift it into first or reverse gear to hold the wheel in place. Then remove the dirt bike’s front and rear wheels.
Disengage the rim lock and remove the rim locks and inner tube. Insert a tire spoon under the dirt bike tire bead at one of its ends and pry it off of the edge of the wheel.
Install a tire-changing stand or lean your bike against anything that holds it in place. Loosen the axle nut to help remove the wheel. Here, you’ll need to use a torque wrench.
If you don’t have a torque wrench, you can use a 15mm socket and open-ended wrench. Loosen the axle nut until it sticks out 1 to 2 mm. Insert a tire lever under the swingarm and slowly lift to remove the axle from its seating.
Pull the axle out and place it to the side. Turn over the bike and remove the tire locking bead.
Detach the chain by loosening the chain tightener. Remove the chain from the chain wheel and remove the chain guide. Place a side stand on your bike or have someone hold it upright.
Remove the rim lock, place a tire spoon beneath the rim lock, and slowly pry out the rim lock, ensuring that you don’t damage your rims by keeping a constant force on the spoon.
If the rim lock has rust and is challenging to remove, you can use a hacksaw blade to cut off the lock. Be careful not to damage your rims in the process.
Also, remove the wheel spacers. If your wheel has spacers, remove them at this point.
Remove the brake calipers. You can use a brake piston tool to push the pistons back into their cylinders. Now remove the brake calipers from the rotor.
If you have a six-bolt rotor, remove the bolts and the rotor. But if you have a disc lock or rotor guard, you can leave it on.
Step by Step Guide on How to Change a Dirt Bike Tire
Avoid the struggle of changing a dirt bike tire with the following easy steps:
Step 1: Deflate the Tire
Put the wheel on a stand with the sprocket side facing up. Detach the valve cap and nut.
Using a valve remover, remove the valve core to make it easier to remove any air pressure in the tube. Place it aside to ensure that no air remains in the tube.
Then loosen the rim lock but don’t remove the nut. After that, start knocking the tire to get off the bead.
Step 2: Loosen the Tire Beads
Place the wheel on a stand on its sprocket side. Use four-tire levers to lift one of the tire’s beads off the wheel. Work your way on all sides of the tire.
You will face the first challenge here; it’s difficult to release the bead on the other side. That’s because the one free side puts more pressure on the other sides, making it challenging to loosen its grip on the rim.
Step 3: Separate the Tire Bead from Rim
Push the rim lock into your bike’s wheel. Then put a bead buddy several inches from the rim lock. This will grip the bead on the loose side. Put the other bead buddy on the opposite side, covering a similar distance from the rim lock.
Now use one hand to grasp the tire’s edge and the other hand to insert the spoon into the gap between the tire and rim. Pry the spoon under the tire’s bead and lift it off the wheel.
After freeing the tire beads from both sides, the tire will come off easily.
Step 4: Remove the Inner Tube
By now, the air will be off the tire. Place the wheel with its sprocket side on a clean surface.
Remove the rim lock and inner tube from the wheel. Here, you may need to apply a tire lube, baby powder, or soapy water to remove the inner tube easily.
Just push down the tube around its circumference with your fingers until it pops out of its groove. Slip the inner tube out. Inspect it for possible damages, then set it aside for future repairs.
Step 5: Unmount the Wheel
Keep the wheel in a horizontal position when unmounting the wheel. This prevents any dirt or mud from entering the bearings.
Now remove the axle nut and washers using a wrench or socket set. After that, pull out the axle and wheel.
Step 6: Inspect the Rim Tape, Rim Lock, and Inner Tube
Check for any damage on the rim tape, rim lock, and inner tube. If there is any damage detected, replace them with new parts. Clean the wheel surface with a cloth and some soapy water or talc powder.
If the rim tape has any damages, consider buying a replacement. However, you can use duct tape if needed. But it’s always a good idea to buy a new tube and only reuse the old one if it has no damages.
Step 7: Prepare the New Dirt Bike Tire
Partially inflate your inner tube to enough pressure. Place it on a clean surface with its valve stem at the top.
Now lubricate the entire circumference of the new tire with soapy water or talc powder. This will help you easily mount the tire on the wheel without damaging the rim or tire during installation.
Step 8: Mount the Inner Tube and Rim Lock
Make sure that the inner tube valve is the same as the one in your rim. Place the tire bead on the wheel, then insert it into the rim with your hands.
Before installing it, I often rub the tube with baby powder to avoid chafing.
Position it so that an even amount of beads are inside each side of the rim hole. Set aside the excess beads you will remove later.
Place the valve, tighten it with a nut, and then replace the rim tape over the joint where the tire bead sits. Hold the top of the valve and your other hand’s index finger over the rim lock with one hand.
Turn the tube to seat it onto its edge well enough to expose another rim lock. Unscrew the second nut and lay it on the rim, covering the valve hole.
Step 9: Install the New Tire
Now it’s time to install the new tire. Mount the wheel on the bike with its bearings facing down. Slide the axle through the wheel and insert the washers and nuts.
Tighten the nut but don’t overdo it. You will need to remove it again for final assembly.
Take a tire iron and push part of the tire around the rim lock steadily. Use another tire iron to work on the remaining tire in the rim.
A bead buddy comes in handy at this point as it helps prevent the other side from popping out. With half of the tire securely in the rim, detach the first tire iron and work on the other tire parts.
Step 10: Inflate the Tube
Inflate your inner tube to make it easier to seat the beads onto the wheel. Insert a tire lever under one side of the tire bead that is still inside its place at the rim.
Push the lever around the tire’s circumference. Ensure the bead pops out of the other side of the rim and into its groove.
Do this at least four times to each side of the tire until it’s seated properly. If you have a compressor, you can speed up this process.
Step 11: Mount the Wheel
After inflating your new dirt bike tire, position it on the wheel, ensuring its sprocket side is facing down. Mount the axle first, then tighten the axle nut with a wrench or socket set.
Step 12: Finalize
Now tighten each rim lock on both sides of the tire using a torque wrench. Leave 1/4 inch of rotation to allow for any possible future modifications.
After that, repeat the previous step to mount your dirt bike tire’s rim tape. You can now inflate and test your new tires. If all is good, you can now take it out on your favorite trail and start enjoying it!
Tips for Removing and Replacing a Dirt Bike Tire
Here are some general tips for removing and replacing your dirt bike tire:
- Clean the wheels with a clean cloth or soap before touching them to prevent any dirt or grime from staining your hands. It will also make it easier for you to see any damage to the tire, tube, rim, or spokes.
- Inflate the inner tube to enough pressure before you start. This will make it easier to put the beads onto the wheel.
- Lubricate the entire circumference of the new tire with soapy water or talc powder before you mount it on the wheel. This will help you mount the tire on the wheel easily.
- Mount the tire in a way that its sprocket side is facing down when you position it back on the wheel so that you will have better access to inflate it later.
- After inflating your new dirt bike tire, position it on the wheel, ensuring its sprocket side is facing down. Mount the axle first, then tighten the axle nut with a wrench or socket set.
- Tighten each rim lock on both sides of the tire using a torque wrench. Leave 1/4 inch of rotation to allow for any possible future modifications.
- Repeat steps one through six for your other wheel side, ensuring that you inflate the inner tube inside both wheels.
- Clean your dirt bike or motorcycle to remove any dust or dirt accumulated during this process.
- Wearing gloves is helpful when you have to replace your dirt bike’s tires, especially if you are doing it outdoors in cold weather conditions where the air temperature may be below freezing.
- To make it easier for you to remove the tire bead from the rim, heat the circumference of the tire with a propane or butane torch before attempting to loosen them up.
Or you can use any other blowtorch which will give off more than enough heat to unseat your tire’s bead.
- Always check for damage on the rim tape, rim lock, and inner tube before replacing them. This helps you know if there is any defect in your current components.
- Make sure to use an air compressor when inflating the inner tube, and ensure that all bead lock nuts are correctly tightened before riding your dirt bike or motorcycle.
- Store or hang up the tools you used to remove and replace your dirt bike tire so that they
- Inflate your inner tube to enough pressure before mounting the tire. This will make it easier to set the beads onto the wheel.
The Bottom Line
To this end, we believe you now know how to change a dirt bike tire at home. Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll be good to go. Be sure also to check your bike’s condition before each ride to ensure that everything is in good working order and safe for you to use.
Your dirt bike will feel like a new one with its new tires. It is better to replace your dirt bike tire when it has worn out than just patching them up.
Dirt bike riding becomes more fun and less worrying about any possible accidents on the road because of a flat tire. This dirt bike change guide will give you peace of mind while having fun on your dirt bike. Happy trails!